COLUMBUS – Today, Governor Ted Strickland held a press conference call to urge quarter-billionaire Mitt Romney, who has run perhaps the most
transparent evasive presidential campaign in decades, to follow the example set by his father George Romney and release 12 years of tax returns before the Ohio primary on March 6. George Romney, who ran for President in 1968, was the first-ever presidential candidate to release his tax returns. He released 12 years of tax returns instead of just one because “one year could be a fluke, perhaps done for show.” Talk about foresight.
Governor Strickland, the most transparent Ohio governor in recent memory, released four years of his tax returns when he ran for re-election in 2010 and released six years of tax returns when he first ran for governor in 2006.
Mitt Romney on the other hand, said yesterday that he’ll release just one year of tax returns – 2010 – and an “estimate” for 2011. Even after South Carolina voters sharply rebuked his refusal to release complete tax returns and inability to explain his investments in offshore tax havens like the Cayman Islands, Mitt Romney still won’t follow his father’s lead.
Governor Ted Strickland’s remarks follow:
“I am pleased to speak to you all today about a critical issue in the race for president. We saw this issue play out quite prominently in the South Carolina primary, and we don’t anticipate it will go away anytime soon.
“Let me first say that I am a believer in transparency. I have always thought that as a public official, I owed it to the people I served to be as open and transparent as possible. And as a candidate, I owed the same openness and transparency to the voters who I was asking to elect me.
“So when I first ran for Governor in 2006, I released several years of my tax returns. And when I ran for re-election, I released my tax returns for all of the years while I was Governor.
“Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has a different approach when it comes to transparency.
“He has refused to release his tax returns for months, despite repeated calls for him to do so from not just Democrats, but from Republicans and even from some of his own supporters.
“My friends, it’s important to understand the larger context here. This isn’t just about tax returns.
“Mitt Romney has waged his candidacy on his experience in the private sector. But the truth is that he spent his time in the corporate world bankrupting companies, outsourcing jobs and laying off workers to line his own pockets. He put profits over people during his time as CEO of Bain Capital and as a result, he became a quarter-billionaire.
“And during his campaign for president, he has made clear that if elected, he would stand up for big corporations and the wealthiest among us. He has also put forward a tax plan that benefits the ultra-wealthy. And he would take us back to a time when Wall Street wrote its own rules.
“And for those of us who question his priorities and his record, Governor Romney says we are engaging in “the politics of envy” and attacking free enterprise.
“What Mitt Romney doesn’t understand is that economic inequality in our country is a real problem. And middle-class Ohioans won’t think it’s fair if they find out they have to pay a much higher tax rate than what Mitt Romney pays. And they won’t think it is fair if they find out Mitt Romney is gaming the tax system by hiding large portions of his profits in off-shore accounts like those in the Cayman Islands and other countries to avoid paying his fair share.
“I believe that Mitt Romney owes it to the voters of Ohio and the voters of our country to release his tax returns so these questions can be answered.
“Last week, Mitt was reminded that when his father, George Romney, ran for president in 1967, he released not one year’s worth of tax returns, but twelve years’ worth. Why twelve? Well, in the words of Mitt’s father at the time, quote, ‘One year could be a fluke, perhaps done for show.’ End quote.
“So Governor Romney was asked if he would follow his father’s lead and release 12 years of his tax returns.
“His response was awkward by not surprising. He said, and I quote: ‘maybe.’
“For the benefit of Ohio voters, that answer should have been ‘yes.’
“And now, after months of criticism from not just Democrats – but from his fellow Republicans – Governor Romney has said he will release merely one year of his tax returns this week along with an estimate of his coming 2011 returns.
“Well, we agree with Mitt’s father, who said that ‘one year could be a fluke, perhaps done for show.’
“Indeed, one year of tax returns does not even begin to paint a picture of Mitt Romney’s time as a corporate buyout specialist.
“After all, if you looked at only the 2010 football season of Ohio State, you wouldn’t know how fine a football program our great university has.
“When Governor Romney made this half-hearted promise, we were reminded of how our current governor tried to put to rest questions about his tax returns. On Good Friday in 2010, Governor Kasich’s campaign rotated reporters in and out of a room on quick intervals to view only one year of his tax returns.
“Governor Romney must come from the John Kasich School of Transparency. He seems to be following Governor Kasich’s lead, releasing only one year of his tax returns on the day of the President’s State of the Union Address.
“Ohioans don’t need lip service from candidates asking to be president of the United States. They need honest answers.
“That’s why today I am calling on Governor Romney to follow his father’s lead and release a full 12 years of his tax returns so Ohioans know how he made his money, what investments he holds and what effective tax rate he pays.
“We have a Republican presidential primary coming up in Ohio on March 6. My assumption is that Mitt Romney will want Ohioans to support him. So, before Mitt Romney asks for the votes of Ohioans, he should come clean and release 12 years of his tax returns, just as his father did.”
GEORGE ROMNEY DISCLOSED 12 YEARS OF TAX RETURNS WHEN HE RAN FOR PRESIDENT SO AS NOT TO BE MISLEADING
George Romney Balked At Releasing Just A Single Year Of Tax Returns Because “One Year Could Be A Fluke, Perhaps Done For Show.” “George Harris, Look senior editor, said he had ‘badgered’ the governor for his latest income tax form but Romney had balked because ‘one year could be a fluke, perhaps done for show…’ ‘Stumped by this argument, I was not prepared for the move it eventually led him to make: He ordered up all the Form 1040’s that he and Mrs. Romney had filed over the last 12 years – including those profitable ones when he saved the American Motors Corporation from bankruptcy and became a millionaire on the company’s stock options.” [UPI in St. Joseph Gazette, 11/27/67]